Making the Most of Students’ High Focus, Obsession, and Interest Areas
Kathy Morris, igivuWings
When students with cognitive disorders, such as autism, Asperger Syndrome, or other developmental disorders obsess on a particular topic to the point that it appears to interfere with learning and socialization skills, parents or educators may become frustrated and want the “obsessions” extinguished. In this webcast, many practical strategies will be presented that the educator or parent can implement to provide a way to “meet the need so that the behavior extinguishes itself”, or in many cases, can be limited. Kathy will demonstrate that this can be accomplished by using a natural source, a student’s high interest area, whether it is used to increase desirable behavior or to motivate him to complete his academic work successfully. Kathy will review practical strategies for encompassing student interests in positive and productive ways.
Kathy Kaluza Morris is the founder of igivuWings, a consulting company for autism spectrum and behavior disorders. She has been a special educator for 40 years, including a speech therapist and teacher in self-contained classes for students with emotional disturbances, autism, and cerebral palsy. She also taught resource and a first grade class.
She was a diagnostician and supervisor before becoming a consultant for behavior, autism, LIFE Skills, and assistive technology at an education service center in Texas. She started her own consulting firm when she started on her doctorate in educational psychology, specializing in autism and behavior. As an adjunct professor, she teaches a course in applied behavior analysis for teachers.
A frequent guest speaker for a local TV program, Kathy was honored as Outstanding Educator for Children with Disabilities in 1997. She was also selected as a delegate for the President's Commission on Special Education in 2002. Kathy has presented internationally as well as nationally. She has also been a keynote speaker at state and national conferences. Her favorite topic is her family. Kathy's husband, Guy, is also a specialist in behavior. Their oldest son, Guy, is a gifted speaker and has presented with her at conferences. Their twin teenage sons, Kirk and Drew, have Fragile X Syndrome and autism spectrum disorder. Kirk also has cerebral palsy. No amount of education and experience prepared them for having children of their own with disabilities. Guy and Kathy's family "walks the walk as well as talks the talk."